Never Miss a Beat

Book Picks for International Friendship Day

The AP team fully supports and loves to read about, friendships in all shapes and sizes. With International Friendship Day on the horizon (8/3/23), here are some old favorites and new titles supporting this theme.


Book Of Joy Hardcover by Dalai Lama, Demond Tutu



This book may have been published in 2016, but the message is timeless. Oprah Winfrey Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression.


Despite their hardships – or, as they would say, because of them – they are two of the most joyful people on the planet. In April 2015, Archbishop Tutu traveled to the Dalai Lama’s home in Dharamsala, India, to celebrate His Holiness’s eightieth birthday and to create this book as a gift for others. They looked back on their long lives to answer a burning question: how do we find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering? They traded intimate stories, teased each other continually, and shared their spiritual practices. By the end of a week filled with laughter and punctuated with tears, these two global heroes had stared into the abyss and despair of our times and revealed how to live a life brimming with joy. This book offers us a rare opportunity to experience their astonishing and unprecedented week together, from the first embrace to the final goodbye.


Making their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe by Vivian Kirkfield



Ella Fitzgerald’s velvety tones and shube-doobie-doos captivated audiences. Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington couldn’t wait to share the stage with her, but still, Ella could not book a performance at one of the biggest clubs in town–one she knew would give her career its biggest break yet.

Marilyn Monroe dazzled on the silver screen with her baby blue eyes and breathy boo-boo-be-doos. But studio bosses refused when she asked for better scripts, a choice in who she worked with, and a higher salary.

Two women whose voices weren’t being heard. Two women chasing after their dreams and each helping the other to achieve them. This is the inspiring, true story of two incredibly talented women who came together to help each other shine like the stars that they are.



A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman



If this title looks familiar, it’s because it’s the book that inspired the wildly popular big-screen movie called A Man Called Otto, starring Tom Hanks.


Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t always walk around with a smile plastered to his face?


Behind the cranky exterior, there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning, a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of these will change one cranky old man and a residents’ association to their foundations.


Underwater Wild: My Octopus Teacher’s Extraordinary World by Craig Foster



When I watched the Academy Award-Winning Series of this same name on Netflix, I wept at the beauty of the story and power of this unlikely friendship.



Craig Foster and Ross Frylinck regularly dive together in the awe-inspiring kelp forests off South Africa, without wetsuits or oxygen tanks. Craig had dived this way for years, including alongside the octopus that inspired My Octopus Teacher.


In Ross, he found a kindred spirit, someone who also embraced the ancient methods of acclimating his body to frigid waters, but whose eyes had not yet adjusted to the transcendent wonder Craig saw each time they dove. In the heart-wrenching stories that make up this unforgettable book, we swim alongside Ross as he grows from skeptic to student of the underwater wild. And in the revelatory marine science behind the stunning photos, we learn how to track sea hares, cuttlefish, and limpets, and we witness strange new behaviors never before documented in marine biology.


One More Thing


This may not be adult non-fiction, but we can’t end this delightful list without including an Audrey Press title inspired by the “fairly true” childhood friendship between siblings and a Dragon!



What if I told you that all of the fairy tales, myths, and legends that have been told about dragons over the years are WRONG. What if I told you that Dragons are indeed Real and that they are different than you’ve ever imagined?


Dragons Are Real is a fairly true story based on the author’s childhood friendship with a REAL live Dragon, a very special Dragon that she and her brother spent two magical summers with.


As readers turn the pages and learn the truth about Dragons, they will see that the fiercest beasts in known history can be the best of friends. It’s a lesson in finding companionship in the most unusual of places.



Play and Imagination Specialist Valarie Budayr created Dragons are Real to be a bright, bold, and delightful journey into the lives of the Dragons that are all around us. Did you know that Dragons are the master of disguises? Did you know that they love sugar and sweets (at unacceptable levels) and will do anything for treats? Discover these curious facts, and many more, as you get lost inside the pages of Dragons Area Real.

For ages 0-8. Grab your copy here or within the Audrey Press bookstore.

Happy Reading!